History Of Scarborough's Open Air Theatre


Originally built in 1932 by Scarborough Council on the site of Hodgson's Slack, the theatre took advantage of a natural amphitheatre. The location was chosen after golfers noted the excellent acoustics in the area.

It was opened by the Lord Mayor of London in 1932 with a comic opera show called "Merrie England".

The 8,000-seat arena saw many productions between 1932 and 1968 by the Scarborough Amateur Operatic Society, including performances of Merrie England, Carmen and West Side Story. In the 1950's, where almost three-quarters of each summer's two million or so visitors were from Yorkshire, the theatre was open twice-weekly, with up to 8,000 people watching shows like The Desert Song.

Musicals, concerts, pageants and 'It's a Knockout' were all popular events . The last musical was staged in 1968 which was "West Side Story". In 1977 the dressing rooms and stage set building on the island were demolished and the seating removed.

For the next ten years 'It's a Knockout', along with concerts from James Last and other artistes were the crowd pullers until it eventually closed in 1987.

The theatre was officially re-opened by Her majesty the Queen at a gala performance on 20th May 2010.